Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Text as Art

I have been seeing an interesting trend in the art that our customers at Canada on Canvas have recently been sending us. The trend is Text Art, and in reminds me both of the concrete poetry of the 1950's, and of the tradition of embroidered samplers. It is always interesting when old traditions get re-cycled and re-vamped by new technology.

Writing is perhaps our second-most common means of communication. In the past, we used to write letters to those we loved to share our feelings. Nowadays writing is more ephemeral. Whether it is an email or a text message, we read it and forget it.

But it seems that people still value heartfelt words, and look for ways to preserve their thoughts and send them to loved ones. Recently at Canada on Canvas, we have received many orders for canvas prints that are not photos or even images at all, they are made up entirely of text. Usually these will be collections of memories or thoughts about the person the gift is for, letting them know all the ways they are cared about and appreciated. We always say that when giving gifts it is the thought that counts, and these original people have discovered a way to give the thought itself!

Text is the perfect way to convey a message, but it is also a visual form that can be beautiful in itself. In the 1950's poets and artists experimented with the visual quality of text to produce pieced that combined the visual and the linguistic. With the renewed interest in typography and design, there has recently been a new interest in this type of art. Many digital artists are investigating the possibilities of text or font-based art with exiting results.

There are also some great tools on the internet that can generate text art out of text that you make. One is Wordle, which will create a “text cloud” based on the most used words in your text.

Here is one I created using the text of this blog post there are also many online tools that will create ascii art. They allow you to feed an image into the programme and it “writes” it using keyboard characters. Digital artists and designers can create personalized images that combine art and text in innovative and beautiful ways. At Canada on Canvas we can print these images on fine art paper or canvas, creating one of a kind gifts or wall decorations.

Fathers Day is coming up in June, and what better way to let dad know what you really mean to him than with a canvas print cataloguing the memories that you treasure, or the lessons he has taught you. Often these things go unspoken...but they deserve to be recorded and remembered.


  1. Very nice text art, you have added here one photo with nice text, i just want to say thanks for sharing.

    canvas art

  2. Thank you so much for making this series of posts. I'm learning so much!! Painters Kitchener